Mystery of silver

From Anthroposophy

The Mystery of the warmth of the blood is also referred to as 'the mystery of silver'.


FMC00.074, with reference to the lecture extract below, shows not only the white blood in mercury or quicksilver substance on Old Moon, but also in a broader evolutionary context how the original warmth of Old Saturn evolved in stages to what we see as the current mineral red blood on Earth (alchemical element of salt for the mineral - see more on Alchemy)

Lecture coverage and references

This topic is an example where the explanation was not given in a lecture but in a single key esoteric lesson to a smaller circle (see volumes GA266/1 and GA266/3 and GA267, but also eg GA091)

Rosecrucian verse given in 1908-03-14-GA266/1,in a free rendering by Rudolf Steiner (from Rudolf Steiner's Notebook Archive Nr. 155). It is contained in 'Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians from the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries' (1785), titled 'Ignis Philosophorum invisibilis & secretissimus occultatum'. We leave the term 'fire' here but otherwise use the term 'warmth'.

Strive for the fire

Seek the fire

So you will find the fire

Light a fire

Put fire to fire

Cook fire in fire

Throw body, soul and spirit into fire

Thus you have dead and living fire

Out of which will come black, yellow, white and red fire

Bear your children in fire

Feed, give them to drink, nourish them in fire:

So they will live and die in fire,

And be fire and stay in fire.

Their silver and gold will become fire.

Heaven and Earth will perish in fire

And become finally a fourfold philosophic fire.

1908-03-14-GA266 extract from the esoteric lesson referenced above:

If an esoteric mediates on these lines and the diagram they give him much strength.

  • During the Saturn period there was only a warmth globe on which the spirits of darkness attained their human stage. The blood we had then was dark. There was a hidden fire or warmth on the planet, but no light.
  • When Saturn disappeared, the Sun rose from the darkness, the second, air element with its oxygen made Saturn's glimmer burst into flames, and then there was light, as is symbolized by the alchemist's sulfur. Blood turned from black to yellow.
  • During the Moon period the whole atmosphere was watery, but not like the water we know. It was divided into spherical drops that moved past each other with tremendous speed. One finds this condition of Moon substance in quicksilver, that also divides into very small spheres and is more mobile than all other substances. During the Moon period blood was as white as this substance, and it was given forms by the world tone. These forms are female. The whole Moon represents the female principle.
  • The fourth, earth element appeared during the Earth period in connection with the third alchemistic substance — salt, the symbol of crystallization and dissolution. This is where the male element appears. Our present men with their red blood are shaped on the earth. Everything that dissolves is salt.

Thus we have four kinds of fire in the four kinds of blood: black on old Saturn, yellow on old Sun, white on old Moon and red on earth.

The warmth that now lives in our blood is the warmth of the planet Saturn. All these bloods or fires are still in us and are instruments for spirits who work in and on us, until we'll be individualized enough to do what these spirits do. The air we inhale is the instrument, bearer or body of a certain kind of spirit. The light rays that pass into our eyes have a light spirit in them who works upon our eyes. Saturn spirits find a point of attack in the warmth of the blood and ego. Some of them are very bad and dangerous.

this last paragraph links to the process of cosmic breathing in Man. And then comes the concise but interesting:

Blood is the I's instrument. Saturn spirits work in the warmth of our blood, as Christ worked in Jesus' blood from age 30 on. Before that Jesus had worked on his physical, etheric and astral bodies. Then Christ took hold of the blood and purified it during the three years. That's why blood had to flow. When we've purified our four bodies in the same way we'll then have the four-fold philosophical fire that belongs to the Vulcan period.

Below follows a more elaborate version of the same extract:

This is another translation of the same key passage above from 1908-03-14-GA266/1, based on manuscript notes from Mathilde Scholl and Lila Harris, now more extended and edited (SWCC). Volume GA266/1 contains four different renderings of this esoteric lesson by different people (Gunther Schubert, Camilla Wandrey, Gunther Wagner). Where these contain relevant additions, they have been integrated into the base version, hence the below is an enriched merger of the four versions (for this section only)

  • During the Old Saturn stage there were no material planets but only a globe of dark and black warmth, upon which the Archai achieved their humanity. The blood we had at that time was dark. It was a hidden, glimmering warmth. There was much more warmth on that planet but no light. The Old Saturn principle is masculine.
  • As Old Saturn disappeared and Old Sun rose out of the darkness, this warmth was differentiated into air and light. Through the fact that the air burned, Old Sun began to radiate light into space. Therefore, a process of combustion occurred. The sec­ond element caused the air with its combustible material, oxygen, to flare up in the warmth of Old Saturn, and there was light, as symbolized by the alchemical substance "sulfur." Then the black blood was trans­formed into yellow. On Old Sun the human being was a being who shone in yellow rays.
  • During the Old Moon stage the entire atmosphere was watery, not water as we know it, but water was divided into small particles that were spherical and that moved with an incredible speed at random. This state of Old Moon substance is found again in liquid mercury, which is also divided up into very small spheres and is more active and mobile than all other substances. Just as this substance is white [or silvery], so too the blood during the Old Moon stage was also, formed into shapes by the sound of the world. These forms are feminine, the entire human being represents the principle of the feminine.
  • During the Earth stage the fourth element of 'earth' appears, in con­nection with the third alchemical substance, "salt," which is the symbol of crystallization and dissolution. On Earth 'salt' is called that part of the Earth's matter that dissolved in water: everything that can be dissolved is salt.. This is a significant fact in world events. Only on the Earth could the masculine principle emerge from the essence of Earth's matter. And only from this could the human being grow as the crowning event. Thus our present humankind with its red blood is formed on Earth.

We have four kinds of warmth in the four kinds of blood which we have had in the past:

  • black blood or black warmth in the Old Saturn stage,
  • yel­low blood or yellow warmth in the Old Sun stage,
  • white blood or white warmth in the Old Moon stage,
  • and red blood or red warmth in the Earth stage.

These different kinds of blood or warmth are still in us and create the instruments for spirits that work in us and upon us until we are suffi­ciently individualized to take over all the functions that are performed by these spirits. The air that we breathe is the instrument, the bearer or body of a [certain] kind of spirit; the rays of light that penetrate our eyes bear in themselves a spirit of light that works in our eyes.

The warmth that now lives in our blood is the warmth of Old Saturn. The Archai have have brought us egotism, with its useful and destructive aspects. On Old Saturn these spirits went through their human stage and bathed or swam in the warmth blood. Thus these spirits remained connected with humans in a certain way. And those spirits of personal­ity who remained behind in evolution and still carry the desire within them to bathe themselves in the blood of human beings, will in the future have a very bad influence precisely on the very lowest drives of the blood, if they establish themselves in the blood. These spirits [editor: the Asuras or spirits of darkness] find their point of attack in the warmth of our blood, in the 'I' and some of them are very evil and dangerous. The only thing that can help here is a spiritual development that knows the same kind of dangers.

Human beings carry the four elements within them­selves.

  • Insofar Man is water, the physi­cal expression of the etheric body is the glandular system.
  • Insofar Man is air, the physical expression of the astral body is the nervous system;
  • and the physical expression of the "I" is the blood.

The evolution of human beings takes place in this way: starting from the 'I', then first the astral body, the etheric body and then the physical body are transformed into spirit-self, life-spirit, and spirit-man. The "children of the I" as the lower members are called esoterically, must therefore gradually be taken hold of by the 'I', permeated by warmth, so to speak.

The four elements found in the human being are connected to the four kinds of soul activities [more in section B]

  • Seeing: in seeing, the earthly principle is active inasmuch as human beings perceive through their sense organs.
  • Sympathy and antipathy .. work upon the glandular system, upon the watery principle
  • Desire .. works upon the nervous system
  • Decision .. as decisions must be made by the 'I'

The most essential point is that we must become decisive. What warmth brings about, the combustion of matter into ash, is, in the soul realm, the process of making a deci­sion. Only through decision does a deed take its place in the context of karma. Therefore we must handle decisions carefully. Vulcan is the result of the sum of human decisions. A part of our I descends in mak­ing a decision. Confucius says: If you do not know which of two things you should choose, then preferably do not decide at all, but wait. This esoteric saying has, of course, two sides, as does every saying. The con­sequence is that we should make ourselves mature enough for decisions; we should educate ourselves into maturity. The I makes decisions and the more mature it becomes, the more correct will the decisions be that it makes; a combustion process will occur that is all the more intense. The I permeates, so to speak, the lower bodies with warmth and gradually consumes them with warmth. This 'fire' then is divided into dead and living fire.

and with reference to the Rosecrucian verse above (again with the term 'fire' now instead of our tearm 'warmth'):

The four kinds of fire are related to the essential part of our four lower sheaths, which are the "children of the 'I.' These must be burned in the "fire of the spirit" so they can become the fourfold philosophical fire in the Vulcan period. We must "fit fire to fire"; the fire of the lower passions must be purified through a union with a higher spiritual fire.

and the final paragraph

Blood is the instrument of the "I." The Old Saturn spirits work in the warmth of our blood as Christ worked in the blood of Jesus.

Jesus was thirty years old when Christ entered him. During those thirty years Jesus had worked on his physical, etheric and astral bodies.

Then Christ took hold of the blood and purified it in three years. Since the "I" is expressed in the blood, this blood was taken hold of by Christ. Christ lived, so to speak, physically in his body of blood, hence the sig­nificance of blood in Christianity. In the fourth stage of Christian initiation of 'bearing the cross', in the persons involved, those parts of the blood flow together toward those places in the body where they flowed in Christ when he was bearing the cross.

For this reason the blood had to flow.

When we have purified our four bodies in this way, then we will have the fourfold philosophical fire, which belongs to the Vulcan period.


When man intensifies and enhances his relationship to silver by the same process he adopted toward the metallic natures of copper and mercury, he comes into touch with a still deeper organization within him. Mercury relates him to the vascular system, which in turn relates him to a cosmic circulation, to the spirituality of the Cosmos. The intensification of his relationship to silver brings him into direct contact with all the forces and impulses that survive from earlier incarnations.

If a man concentrates on the peculiar properties of silver — and it is some time before the effects are registered — he concentrates within himself those forces which are responsible not only for the circulation of fluids through the vessels, but also for the circulation of warmth in the bloodstream. He then realizes that he owes his human status to the warmth circulating in his blood, in that he feels a certain inner warmth, a material yet at the same time a spiritual element, within his blood; and that in this warmth forces from former incarnations are actively working. In man's relationship to silver is expressed that which can influence the warmth-activity of the blood and also that which provides a spiritual link with earlier incarnations.

Silver therefore preserves that metallic virtue which reminds man of what survives in his present life from earlier incarnations.

For the circulation of the blood with its remarkable warmth-differentiations

  • is not derived from this physical world,
  • nor from the world of Elements which I have described to you,
  • nor even from the world of stars. The world of stars determines the course and direction of the blood circulation.

But in the warmth of the blood that circulates within us there works the vitalizing force from previous lives on Earth.

It is to this we appeal directly when we refer to forces of silver in their relationship to man. Thus the mystery of silver is related to his previous incarnations. Silver is one of the most astounding examples of the all-pervasiveness of the spiritual, even in the physical world. He who has a right understanding of silver knows that it is the symbol of the cycles of man's lives on Earth. Hence the mystery of silver is bound up with reproduction and its secrets, because through the process of reproduction the being of man is perpetuated from generation to generation. The spiritual being who existed in former lives on Earth incarnates again through the process of reproduction. This is the same mystery as the mystery of blood.

The mystery of the blood, of the warmth of the blood, is the mystery of silver.

We are now familiar with the normal condition of man. Let us proceed to a study of his pathological states. The blood should not take its warmth from man's present environment, but from the spheres through which he has passed in previous incarnations. Let us suppose that the warmth of his blood is affected by his present environment and is not activated by that which links us spiritually to previous incarnations. Pathological conditions then ensue. They occur because all that is connected with the warmth of the blood is severed from its natural associations, from earlier lives on Earth. What is fever? From the standpoint of spiritual science fever occurs because the human organization has severed its relation with the cycle of incarnations. If, in some cases of illness, the doctor ascertains that the external world has worked upon the patient in such a way that his organization is in danger of being cut off from earlier incarnations, then the doctor administers silver as a remedy.


Example: link between stitching and integrative imaginative soul work

Here is an small example of concatenating perspectives and elements from the various pages, as an illustration of the integrative work to be done in your soul as a basis to build imaginative insight.

1/ The above quote 'Christ took hold of the blood and purified it during the three years. That's why blood had to flow.' (1908-03-14-GA266), having learned about the spiritual nature of pure blood versus the luciferic element in the mineral fluid (1911-12-31-GA134), presents us with a direct link to Wagner's vision on the purification of the blood (1906-07-29-GA097).

2/ A quote such as 'what streams upwards in the Chalice of the Flower lives also in the blood of man that needs, however, to be made clean and pure again, is chaste as the sap that flows in the blossom' (1906-07-29-GA097) links to the symbol of flower chalice and the holy grail, and the purity or chaste nature directly follows from the above point 1.

Hence we see that we are stitching symbolic meaning which cannot be captured in words, listed in a table or shown in a graphical presentation, because it it way more rich, complex and multi-dimensional. The very best tool we have is our human soul, as explained by Rudolf Steiner (see eg Notes on the study process) and the statement on our site info.

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